China blows by U.S. as world's largest car market


China has overtaken the U.S. as the world's largest car market. The Associated Pressreports that research firm JP Power expects China's light vehicle sales will be 12.7 million in 2009, up 44% from the previous year. U.S. car and light truck sales will be only 10.3 million. Four years ago, American vehicles sales topped 16 million.

Monthly car sales in China have been running ahead of the U.S. for several months, so the news is not altogether unexpected -- and it is not necessarily bad news for American car companies. GM sold 177,000 cars in China in November, about 20,000 more than it did in the U.S. GM and German car company VW are the leaders in the car market on the Chinese mainland.